One of the reasons I keep writing about sleep is because I keep looking for what we refer to as “the magic handshake.” Generally, my husband and I use that in reference to writing, how new (and sometimes older) writers are always looking for that one magic thing that’s going to make them a sudden success, instead of putting in the hours (and years) of work that “sudden” success often takes.

Sleep isn’t a career though, although I would imagine there are some champion sleepers out there (cats, for example) who make sleep their vocation.

I’ve never had a good relationship with sleep. As I get older, sleep is more precious, more necessary, and harder than ever to achieve.

Diet plays a large part in my sleep habits. Being in ketosis always brings me better sleep. However, even that hasn’t been as effective as it once was.

It just isn’t fair, is it.

Then again, life isn’t fair. No one ever gets out alive. Just gotta live the best life you can in the meanwhile.


One of my intentions for 2023 was to start meditating regularly again. Honestly, that’s been hit or miss. Somedays I meditate. Often, I don’t.

What I have been doing much more regularly are the sleep meditations, as it were.

The app I’ve been using is called “Simple Habit.” They have a lot (a lot!) of little sessions that are focused on helping you fall asleep.

I’ve gone through three of the seven days programs, and am two weeks into a thirty-one-day program.

I feel as though I’m slowly, very slowly, starting to build some tools for A) falling asleep at the start of the evening and B) going back to sleep when I wake up in the middle of the night.

I’m also crafting what suits me best in terms of sleep “hygiene” and habits, what I do before I go to bed. Sitting, reading, and knitting lowers my heart rate more than just sitting and reading. I wouldn’t have thought that to be the case, but it is.

I try to do a regular meditation at night as well before I go to bed. Sometimes, that helps. Sometimes, I’m falling asleep in the middle of it. Sometimes, it’s just a distraction and I can watch my resting heart rate rise. I haven’t found the right program or meditation or what have you for that. I’ll keep trying different things.

One of the lovely things about the sleep programs is that every night, I’m trying a new technique. That’s been interesting, to see what works for me and what doesn’t.

And when.

For example, doing a body scan, bringing sensation into my toes and working up to my head, or vice versa, and going head down, can be the greatest thing in the world for sending me straight to sleep. It works about a quarter of the time.

However, it works ONLY when I’m first trying to fall asleep. If I try to do a body scan when I’ve woken up at 3 AM and can’t fall back asleep, all I end up doing is waking myself up more. It’s useless as a technique at that time, at least for me.

Conversely, telling myself that my limbs are heavy, and falling more heavily into the bed does pretty much nothing for me when I’m first trying to fall asleep.

However, doing it at 3 AM is surprisingly effective.

Concentrating on my breath and counting backward has been effective both when first trying to fall asleep as well as when I wake up in the middle of the night. In the middle of the night, I’ll concentrate on breathing into my belly, telling myself that my limbs are heavy, then I’ll count backward. Move up to the chest, more heavy, then more backward counting. For me, that’s been putting me back to sleep fairly well, at least at this time.

Another thing that’s worked has been what they called gentle touches. It was something that I’d been doing before I learned there was a name for it, namely, running my hands over my face as a way of helping to fall asleep. What the meditation taught me was that rubbing the backs of my hands along my jawline is also really effective. As well as having a shorter count in the inhalation and a longer one on the out breath.

There’s a technique where you imagine yourself floating like a cloud, light and airy. That didn’t do anything for me at all. Same with expanding myself, letting my senses flow out in every direction.

I don’t mind the nights when I’m trying a technique that doesn’t work for me. Depending on how I’m doing that night, I may go back to one of the sessions that I know do work. I’ve been finding it so interesting to experiment with all these different tools. Plus, who knows? Maybe some night one of those techniques that didn’t work the first time will be the key that night.

If you also have a lot of issues falling and staying asleep, possibly learning some additional tools and techniques may help. I’d recommend “Simple Habit” for that, though I’m sure there are other apps that will do the same sort of guided meditation that may be a better fit. If you try a different one with great results, let me know!

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